I want more. And I want silence. And I want to feel okay about those things. I don't want to see something beautiful and say to myself, "I should Facebook this." I want to enjoy the beautiful thing and hold it in my mind. I want to think things and have them stay inside. I want to keep things to myself sometimes instead of just vomiting them out on my keyboard. I want to be able to just sit.
So for now, I'll just twitch.
The benefit of this is that I have so much more time to write. I wrote over 4,000 words the other day, much more than my usual 1,000. Every time I sat at the computer, I didn't have any distractions, so I just jumped right into what I was working on. It was a glorious feeling. To be focused on the story, to be zoned in on the characters without feeling like I should take a break and see what people were up to on social media. It was how I felt when I first started writing full time. An immersion in the story.
Today I bought a pumpkin spice latte from the coffee shop in the supermarket. I'd been waiting all year for this flavor. All my Facebook friends are always talking about it. They just can't wait for the pumpkin spice latte to be available. I was with them, too. Pumpkin spice lattes meant fall and cold nights and brisk mornings and a tinge of woodsmoke in the air. So today I bought one. I took a few sips and I just couldn't drink it. It was a syrupy, chemical flavored mess that didn't taste like anything to me. I couldn't taste the pumpkin pie it had always reminded me of, and I couldn't taste the coffee, which is the reason I was drinking it. All I could taste was what I realized was filler. It was like the fluff that writers sometimes stuff their books with so it will make an adequate word count, to make their publishers happy. Then I realized why I had been feeling depressed about social media.
Social media is filler. It isn't life, and hardly anything on it is real. It's not the coffee or the pumpkin-y flavor. It's not even the whipped cream that makes everything it's on top of taste better. It's just filler. Sugar and chemicals and coloring that makes a syrupy mess seem like a good thing. It fills up the silences that make you uncomfortable, and it eases the loneliness that all introverts feel at one time or another, but it's not real. It's not nutritious or spiritually fulfilling. It's a Big Mac when you should really go for the roasted chicken and vegetables. I know I'm going against the grain and getting all hermit-y and sounding like a Luddite, but I guess that's what happens when you turn off the static. You start analyzing why things are the way they are, you start oiling the rusty cogs that haven't been turning correctly for a very long time.
I think it's about keeping things simple. Simple things are always the best things. Simple foods are the most delicious, simple days of doing things that you like and nothing else, simple relationships where there are no worries or suspicions or bad feelings. And sometimes to simplify life you have to cut out the filler. You have to say no to the pumpkin spice latte. You have to choose the silence and rusty cogs. Because from that simplicity, comes joy. Not just typing some mundane status update about being #blessed or a claim about shoes equalling happiness. But joy in the moment. In being alone, without the clamor of millions of virtual voices. You can listen to music and have that be the only thing you have to do in that moment. You can read a book without live tweeting the plot twist. You can go five seconds without seeing an advertisement for whatever product is going to improve your life even though you've gotten this far without it and never wanted or needed it.
Now I'm going off a bit, so I'm going to cut this short. It's something that's been on my mind for years, but I'm only now able to put it into words. Silence is the nutrition that all minds need. Our cogs are all rusty and we take for granted that our world has become complicated. It's not. It's the same world it's always been. We're making it complicated. And it's unnecessary.
All you have to do is unplug.